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Venture into the wilderness with our experts and explore five of America’s most iconic national parks,
traveling from Grand Teton and Yellowstone
to Glacier, the Olympic Peninsula, and the
Grand Canyon, and learn about National
Geographic’s vital role in preserving and
promoting these natural treasures.
Explore an astonishing diversity of
landscapes in five national parks.
Stay in historic park lodges, and examine
the achievements of the past century with
representatives from the National Park
Admire the soaring peaks of the Tetons, and
witness Old Faithful geyser’s spectacular
eruptions in Yellowstone.
Raft down the Middle Fork of the Flathead
River in Glacier National Park.
Itinerary - 15 Days
Day 1 — Jackson, Wyoming/Grand Teton National Park
Arrive in the lively mountain town of Jackson,
gateway to Grand Teton National Park. Go for a
short hike with spectacular views of the snowdusted
pinnacles of the Teton Range. Visit the
National Elk Refuge, and gather for a welcome
dinner. Rustic Inn at Jackson Hole (D)
Days 2 & 3 — Grand Teton National Park/Yellowstone National Park
Delve into the natural and human history of
Grand Teton National Park at the Laurance S.
Rockefeller Preserve, and walk scenic trails along
Phelps Lake. Then drive north to Yellowstone—the
world’s first national park, established in 1872.
Most of the park rests atop a slumbering volcano
whose magma chamber is the source of the area’s
colorful hot springs, steaming fumaroles, and
geysers—including Old Faithful, whose eruptions
we will witness this evening. Spend the next day
exploring gurgling mud pots and mesmerizing
mineral pools. Have dinner at Old Faithful Inn, a
national historic landmark. Old Faithful Snow Lodge (B,L,D Daily)
Days 4 & 5 — Yellowstone National Park
Head out early to search for wildlife in Hayden
Valley. Visit the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone,
and walk the rim to view thundering waterfalls. Cross Dunraven Pass on our way to Mammoth
Hot Springs, where thermal waters have sculpted
travertine terraces over thousands of years.
During our stay, a park representative will provide
insight into the National Park Service’s history and its vision for the future. Explore
Lamar Valley, known as “the Serengeti of North
America.” Learn about the reintroduction of
wolves in 1995, and use spotting scopes to observe
bison, eagles, coyotes, and perhaps even a grizzly. Best Western By Mammoth Hot Springs (B,L,D Daily)
Days 6 & 7 — Missoula, Montana/Glacier National Park
Journey through Montana’s Rockies to Missoula,
and discover the lively downtown. The following
morning, continue north through the Mission
Range to Flathead Lake. Take to the waters of the
Middle Fork of the Flathead River, which forms
the southern border of Glacier National Park.
Paddle Class II and III rapids through rugged canyons, keeping an eye out for bears, bald eagles,
and ospreys. Holiday Inn Missoula Downtown (B,L) and Lake McDonald Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Glacier National Park
Named after the slow-moving glaciers that carved
these valleys over hundreds of thousands of years,
Glacier is one of America’s most magnificent
national parks—boasting nearly 1,600 square miles
of what naturalist John Muir called “the best care-killing scenery on the continent.” Take in awe-inspiring vistas as we navigate Going-to-the-Sun
Road, a 52-mile engineering marvel that crosses
the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. Explore St.
Mary Lake and unwind with a trailside picnic. This
evening, enjoy a talk with a park representative. Lake McDonald Lodge (B,L,D)
Days 9 & 10 — Kalispell/Seattle, Washington/Olympic National Park
Transfer to the airport in Kalispell for our flight
to Seattle. Upon arrival, drive into the heart of
Olympic National Park, first declared a national
monument by President Theodore Roosevelt—one of the park system’s greatest patrons—and
subsequently designated a national park by
President Franklin Roosevelt in 1938. This vast
wilderness harbors diverse ecosystems, with
glacial peaks presiding over spruce-shrouded
rain forest, crystalline lakes and rivers, and sandy
beaches. Paddle along the coast in a sea kayak
looking for seals, otters, and whales. Then head
up to Hurricane Ridge to take in show-stopping
views of Mount Olympus as we hike through
subalpine meadows. Lake Crescent Lodge (B,L,D Daily)
Days 11 & 12 — Olympic National Park/Phoenix, Arizona
Venture deep into Hoh Rain Forest, marveling at
monumental Sitka spruce and western hemlock stands. Walk amid tide pools, sea stacks, and nesting
seabirds on Ruby Beach. Have dinner in the
historic Roosevelt Dining Room at Lake Quinault
Lodge. The next day, fly from windswept coast to
high desert, arriving in Phoenix, Arizon for the night. Lake Quinault Lodge; Camelback Inn Resort and Spa (B,L,D Daily)
Days 13 & 14 — Grand Canyon National Park
Along our journey north to the Grand
Canyon, enjoy a stop at Montezuma Castle National Monument as well as a short hike at Walnut Canyon. A park representative joins us for dinner to introduce us
to the history of the Grand Canyon. Spend the
next day exploring the South Rim, which frames
the canyon’s one-mile-deep chasm—carved by
the Colorado River over millions of years. Choose
from a variety of hikes, and take in the dazzling
colors of sunset. Celebrate our national parks expedition during a farewell dinner at El Tovar hotel,
perched on the canyon’s rim. Kachina Lodge (B,L,D Daily)
Day 15 — Grand Canyon/Boulder City/Las Vegas
Enjoy a bird’s-eye view over the Grand Canyon as
we fly to Boulder City, Nevada. Transfer to nearby
Las Vegas for your flight home. (B)
Few people know Yellowstone country and America's national parks better than wildlife biologist Jeremy Schmidt. He has worked in and around Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons for more than 30 years, including stints as a park ranger, a naturalist, a photographer, and an author, writing several articles for National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler magazines. He has also written several books for National Geographic, including titles on Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and the Northern Rockies. His knowledge and passion for America's national parks will enrich your experience.
Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $2,575 in 2017. The group flights during the trip totaling $995 are not included. Airfare to Jackson and return from Las Vegas is not included in the expedition cost.
Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives, or easy hikes, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and biking.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.
What To Expect
This expedition is designed to accommodate guests at different activity levels. Choose hiking options ranging from easy two-to-four-mile walks to moderate or challenging hikes of five miles or more. Additional activities, such as rafting and kayaking, are fit for all levels of experience.